Uganda: Patients Abandon Budaka Health Centre Following Covid-19 Deaths

Several in-patients and caretakers seeking medical services at Budaka Health Centre IV in the eastern district of Budaka have abandoned the facility after four suspected Covid-19 patients died.

There was a mad rash at the health facility as several in-Patients rushed to obtain discharge forms from the medical workers for fear of being infected with the virus that is currently ravaging the country.

Dr John Wogabaga, the facility administrator [in-charge] confirmed that there was a frantic race at the facility as a few in-patients raced to acquire discharge forms from the clinical officers.

He further said that a few patients and their guardians [caretakers] took off from the General wards subsequent to seeing two patients surrender to COVID-19 and others others testing positive.

"It's true patients have run away from the facility possibly due to the COVID-19 scare as two adults reportedly succumbed to the disease at the adult ward and another pregnant woman that was referred to Mbale also died on her way, so the number of patients has reduced drastically," Dr Wogabaga said.

Dr Wogabaga also noted that with the rising number of COVID -19 Patients, the facility is ill equipped to manage the cases.

"Some of the cases are rushed here but unfortunately we don't have an isolation ward, no oxygen and personal protective equipments.so handling such cases is challenging and its putting the lives of health workers at greater risk, we are expected to do much but we are not empowered," he explained.

According to Wogabaga, Maternity ward is the only busy section as a number of expectant mothers turn up to deliver at the facility as Out-patient department (OPD).

The health facility -located along Mbale-Tirinyi highway with obsolescence wards has been receiving an overwhelming number of patients ranging between 500-800 patients with different health complications on daily basis, thus constraining the available resources despite meager funding from government.

Dr Wogabaga, however, challenged the patients to go back and seek health services while observing SOPs because people could complicate the situation if they stop accessing health treatment at the facility.

Mr Nasur Masaba, the district Covid-19 surveillance officer, said they had registered a total of 132 positive cases by June 21, with five admitted at the Intensive care Unit [ICU], and 4 deaths have been registered within while over 24 have been from outside the district.

During the district taskforce meeting, Budaka, Kamonkoli, Mugiti and Kameruka sub-counties were identified as Covid-19 hot spots where three in every ten 10 people test positive for the virus.

Mr Masaba warned that the situation might escalate if the communities (residents) adamantly refuse to adhere to the set health guidelines, especially during burials.

Budaka Resident District Commissioner [RDC], Mr Tom Chesol, has however, directed all the sub-county chiefs and LC3 chairpersons to reactivate sub-county task force meetings in order to battle the increasing spread of the virus.

Mr Chesol said his investigations indicate that some bars, markets, churches and schools were still operating illegally despite the ban by the President.

"We shall not relent to enforce these guidelines. People had started relaxing thinking COVID-19 is not there but now it's real," he said.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth

President Museveni in the country up-to-date on COVID-19 pandemic issued a number of measures to curb down the rapid spread of the disease and among them was suspending movement from one district to another, closure of schools, churches and markets.

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